Dadaocheng Cisheng Temple, commonly known as the Dadaocheng Mazu (meaning "Mother-Ancestor") Temple, dedicated to the Tianshang Shengmu (meaning "Heavenly Holy Mother"), the guardian of sailors and also known as Mazu or Tianhou (meaning "Empress of Heaven"), is one of the three main temples in Daodaocheng, along with the Fazhu Temple and the Xia Hai City God Temple. "The first door opens to display the beauty of Guanyin Mountain; thousands of ships have navigated over the running waters" is written on the front gate, pointing out the change of its location over the years. Cisheng Temple was originally located at the intersection of Xining North Road and Minsheng West Road back in 1866, across the trading port, with the Bali Guanyin Mountain to its front right, looking onto the bay of the Tamshui River flowing north. In 1910, the Japanese government tore the temple down to re-plot the urban streets. The locals funded the temple relocation to its current address on Yanping North Road, using the original pillars and stones and preserving its appearance since the reconstruction finished in 1914, until today.
Hsinchu City god Temple (Chenghuang Temple) is regarded as the highest-ranking of all City God temples in Taiwan, due to the superior spiritual power of its City God in protecting the town. In front of the temple is a market with a lot of small stalls selling delicious Taiwanese snacks, including rice noodles, meat balls, thick cuttlefish broth, and Zhuqian Biscuit (Zhuqian is the original name of Hsinchu).
Hsinchu is famous for a number of specialty foods, especially Hsinchu rice noodles, which are produced in Nanshr Village, Hsinchu City. Another famous product of Hsinchu is shiangfen, a traditional cosmetic powder which was used by women throughout Taiwan before the arrival of foreign-style cosmetic products. The powder is also used in offerings to Qiniangma, the guardian spirit of children. Only one store, run by the Tsai Family in Julian Street, still produces this powder. Although there are many stalls from which Hsinchu meatballs can be purchased, many are concentrated around the Chenghuang Temple.
Song Dynasty Town (Songcheng) is the largest theme park in Hangzhou, featuring the cultural characteristics of the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279 AD), and also the first theme park built in Zhejiang. With Wuyun Mountain in the north and West Lake to its northeast, Song Dynasty Town is on the northern bank of the Qiantang River. Its layout and architectural style are based on a precious ancient painting, 'Along the River During the Qingming Festival', which was made by famous painter Zhang Zeduan, displaying the urban landscape and people's living condition of that dynasty.
The theme park is divided into three fields, Performing Songcheng, High-tech Songcheng, and Cultural Songcheng. Performing Songcheng includes the Romance of the Song Dynasty and ten theme shows. High-tech Songcheng has many featured events, such as reproducing area of 'Along the River during the Qingming Festival', two distinguishing haunted houses, and a mysterious street. Using advanced technology, they are all very realistic and mysterious, giving visitors a totally different experience. Cultural Songcheng covers some folk activities, such as traditional workshops, custom shows and Buddhist temples.
Reputed as “Number One Monastery in Southeast China,” Tianning Temple is located beside the Grand Canal and the Hongmei Park, which is the largest and most well-reserved ancient temple in Changzhou, covering an area of over 130 mu.
Situated in the backyard of Jiuhua Palace in Zheshan Park, Zhe Pagoda can be dated back to Song Dynasty in 1065. It is regarded as the key relics preservation in Anhui province. The Pagoda is surrounded by hills and trees. It is worthwhile taking a one-day trip in the downtown with other attractions like Guangji Temple, Shutian Pavilion, Cuiming Garden, Mr. Liu Xiping’s graveyard, lieutenant General Dai Anlan’s graveyard.
As one of Hong Kong’s most famous and popular temples, Wong Tai Sin Temple is not only famous among locals, but also very well-known among Chinese from all around the world. This has mainly to do with the history and myths behind this unique temple.
When the sun goes down, the traders have already laid out their wares and the opera singers and fortune tellers begin to emerge. Welcome to the Temple Street Night Market, a popular street bazaar, named after a Tin Hau temple located in the centre of its main drag, and a place so steeped in local atmosphere that it has served as the backdrop to many a memorable movie.
Located at the foot of Yuping Hill to ther west of Jingdong county seat, the temple was constructed in the 21st year (1682) of the Kangxi Reign of the Qing Dynasty and is one of the province-level protected historic relics in Yunnan.
Daming temple was initially erected in 457 to 464 A.D of the Southern Song Dynasty. During the changes of dynasties, the temple had several name changes and were demolished at least three times by fire or by political chaos.
Bright Filial Piety Temple has a long history of more than 1700 years. It is a temple with the longest history and largest scale in Lingnan area.
It was originally built as the residence of Zhao Jiande, an offspring of Zhao Tuo, the Nanyue King in the Western Han Dynasty. In the period of the Three Kingdoms, Yu Fan, a lord in the Wu State, when he was relegated to the Southern Sea, he gave lectures here and hence the Guangxiao Temple was called "Yu Yuan" at that time. The temple was also called "He Lin" because of a great many myrobalan trees there.
After Yu Fan's death, his family denoted the residence as a temple and made a slab saying "Zhizhi", and that was the very beginning of the Guangxiao Temple. Bright Filial Piety Temple has a long history and therefore there are a lot of antiques. The Grief Bell which was first set up in the 2nd year of Baoli in the Tang Dynasty (826 A. D.) is in the shape of mushroom and is made of stone with Hercules' embossments around. Those embossments are vivid in facial expressions and well shaped and elegant in postures so that they completely represent the soul of Buddhism.
The temple, cemetery and family mansion of Confucius, the great philosopher, politician and educator of the 6thñ5th centuries B.C., are located at Qufu, in Shandong Province. Built to commemorate him in 478 B.C., the temple has been destroyed and reconstructed over the centuries; today it comprises more than 100 buildings.
Only a twenty-minute drive away from Qufu, it’s an absolute gem with its graceful halls and pavilions and ancient juniper and cypress trees standing amid its peaceful courtyards. If there is indeed a place to celebrate the innate goodness of the human spirit, then this it!
One of the few springwater lakes in a Chinese city, the lake has been a nationally famous scenic spot since the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) for its picturesque view with a ring of lakeside ancient pavilions, residences and temples.
Kosan Wajo of Kosanji Temple became a Buddhist priest after the death of his mother, and the temple belonging to the Honganji sect of the Jodo Shinshu sect was built as a memorial to her. Various pagodas that had been built over more than 30 years since 1936 were reproduced with representative styles and methods of Buddhist architecture from the Asuka to Edo Periods. The Koyo no Mon gate that took 10 years to build and is a reproduction of the Yomei Gate in Nikko, excellent art works exhibited in the new treasure hall, and the approximately 50,000 square meter location with its seasonal beauty reminds you of heaven. The temple is also famous for cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.
Iyama Hofuku-ji Temple was built in 1232 as a Zen temple. The temple is famous as the childhood training grounds for the painter Sesshu—the most prominent Japanese master of ink wash painting, which employs shading from a single-color inkstick. A popular attraction at the temple is the Buddhist practice of zazen, where worshippers sit in meditation for spiritual unity. Visitors can join early morning zazen sessions on the second Sunday of every month with no reservations required, and tea and sweets provided after the meditation offer a chance to experience the hospitality of Japanese culture. The temple’s fresh green of spring and vibrant foliage in autumn also make for beautiful sights.
The ancient temple of Saidaiji Kannon-in was built around 1,200 years ago. Walking along the approach, visitors will pass by rows of traditional shops before entering the shrine’s gate and arriving at the main hall.
Bach Ma Temple is believed to be the oldest temple in Hanoi. This Buddhist temple was originally built in the ninth century by King Ly Thai To in honour of Bach Ma. According to a sign inside the temple, originally the site of the temple was Long Do Mountain. The temple was moved to its current location in the Old Quarter of Hanoi in the 18th century, during the Ly Dynasty, to guard the east side of Thang Long.
The translation of Bach Ma is ́White Horse ́ and this refers to a story behind the construction of the Temple. King Ly Thai To had been struggling to build the temple as its walls kept collapsing. It is said that a white horse delineated the best area to build the temple with its hooves to help the king in constructing the temple.
Ngoc Son Temple was built in the 18th century on Jade Island in the centre of the ‘Lake of the Returned Sword’ or Hoan Kiem Lake. Legend describes how an emperor was once given a magical sword which helped him defeat the Chinese Ming Dynasty and in doing so saw the return of the Golden Turtle God to the lake.
Today ‘Turtle Tower’ stands close to the lake in memory of this legend. There are also endangered large soft-shell turtles swimming in the lake, and to see one of these gentle giants is considered very auspicious. The name of the temple translates to ‘Temple of the Jade Mountain’ and is predominately dedicated to war hero General Tran Hung Dao who defeated an armed force of 300,000 soldiers sent by Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan in the 13th century to invade Vietnam.
Also inside the pagoda are a large bronze bust and other deities. There are altars dedicated to Tran Hung Dao, some ancient artefacts including ceramics and a preserved specimen of a giant turtle found in the lake weighing 250kg.
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history and, signifying its historical and cultural importance, was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Also known as the Hanoi Citadel, many artefacts and items dating back to between the 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells.
On top of these discoveries, archaeologists also found bronze coins, ceramics and pottery from China and many places in Asia, all of which demonstrate a close trading relationship in the area. Visitors should head for the display room that features interesting excavated items and mock-ups of the citadel itself.
The Temple of Literature is often cited as one of Hanoi’s most picturesque tourist attractions. Originally built as a university in 1070 dedicated to Confucius, scholars and sages, the building is extremely well preserved and is a superb example of traditional-style Vietnamese architecture.
This ancient site offers a lake of literature, the Well of Heavenly Clarity, turtle steles, pavilions, courtyards and passageways that were once used by royalty. Visiting the Temple of Literature you will discover historic buildings from the Ly and Tran dynasties in a revered place that has seen thousands of doctors’ graduate in what has now become a memorial to education and literature.
Originally the university only accepted aristocrats, the elite and royal family members as students before eventually opening its doors to brighter ‘commoners’. Successful graduates had their names engraved on a stone stele which can be found on top of the stone turtles.
The Perfume Pagoda, known locally as Chua Huong or ‘inner temple’, is at the centre of a very revered and sacred site featuring a maze of mainly Buddhist temples built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich. At the heart of this complex lies the Perfume Temple or Perfume Pagoda in the Huong Tich Cave.
It is believed that the first temple was built here in the 15th century, although legend declares that the site was actually discovered over 2,000 years ago by a Buddhist monk who was meditating nearby. The mountain foothills are an area of great natural and spiritual beauty filled with streams, tropical plants and temples.
There are many pagodas to visit, each offering a different shrine, most of which are Buddhist although one or two are animist. The Perfume Pagoda attracts pilgrims and tourists seeking good luck from the stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave which have been named according to the individual blessing they can bestow. Dun Tien offers prosperity and Nui Co offers the chance of giving birth to a girl whilst Dun Gao translates as a ‘rice stack’ to those hoping for a bountiful harvest.
Phap Lam Pagoda is a two-storey temple in Da Nang City Centre, featuring towering trees, manicured gardens, and intricate Buddhist sculptures. Formerly known as Tinh Hoi Pagoda (until renamed as Phap Lam Pagoda), it was built in 1934 along Ong Ich Khiem Street, where Con Market is just a five-minute stroll away.
Despite its location within the bustling Da Nang city centre, the atmosphere here is very serene and peaceful. You can see locals praying in the morning or getting their fortunes told while the resident monks go about their daily lives. As with any Buddhist temple in Vietnam, Phap Lam Pagoda gets packed with devotees during annual festivities such as Tet and Lunar New Year.
The top floor of the pagoda is a presbytery that features intricately carved pillars, handwritten Buddhist Pali incantation, and a golden statue of Buddha while the ground floor hosts an amphitheatre that can accommodate up to 1,000 people. The courtyard of the pagoda houses a 1.1-metre-high seated Buddha statue as well as brass statues of the Goddess of Mercy (Avalokitecvara) and Dai The Chi Bodhisattva. Entrance to Phap Lam Pagoda is free of charge, but donations are welcomed.
The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble in Da Nang. It's also a well-known pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels and temples all just waiting to be discovered. Named after the elements metal, wood, water, fire and earth, Marble Mountains exist in a coastal area that is renowned for stone-cutting and sculpture about 9km south of Da Nang.
The caves within the mountains hold many secrets including bullet holes from when troops used to spy on the US soldiers relaxing on My Khe Beach below and buildings standing within the caves and grottoes. There are also Buddhist sanctuaries and places of worship dotted across the mountains which are a much-visited spiritual site. You can even see a special circular cave here. It leads to the summit, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views.
In Osaka, the shrine is known affectionately as "Sumiyossan." Every year, from January 1st to 3rd, the shrine welcomes more than 2 million people for Hatsumode, the traditional first shrine visit of the year. The head shrine for Japan's approximately 2,300 Sumiyoshi shrines, Sumiyoshi Taisha is the most important shrine in the Osaka area. Praying to the gods here is believed to ensure maritime safety, as well as good luck in farming, waka poetry, martial arts, and sumo wrestling, and to ward off disasters of all kinds. Built more than 1,800 years ago, the buildings are arranged to resemble a fleet of ships headed out to sea. The shrine was built in an architectural style known as Sumiyoshi-zukuri, the oldest style used in shrine construction, and is registered as a national treasure. Sumiyoshi Taisha has more than 30 auxiliary shrines, as well as a number of festivals and rituals, including Sumiyoshi Matsuri. The grounds of the shrine are carefully preserved as a national treasure and important cultural property for their architectural and cultural value.
Shitennoji (四天王寺, Shitennōji) is one of Japan's oldest temples and the first-ever to be built by the state. It was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku, who supported the introduction of Buddhism into Japan. Although the temple's buildings burned down several times throughout the centuries, they were always carefully reconstructed to reflect the original 6th-century design.
The outer temple grounds are free to enter, but admission to the inner precinct, the Gokuraku-Jodo Garden and the treasure house is paid. In the pebble covered courtyard of the inner precinct stand a five-storied pagoda that can be entered and ascended and the Main Hall (Kondo) in which Prince Shotoku is enshrined as a statue of Kannon.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason: standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world.
If you’ve been planning a trip to Kyoto, you’ve probably seen pictures of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – along with the torii tunnels of Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine and Kinkaku-ji Temple, it’s one of the most photographed sights in the city. But no picture can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this sprawling bamboo grove – the whole thing has a palpable sense of otherness that is quite unlike that of any normal forest we know of.
The best way to explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is by following our Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Walking Tour, which outlines the best route to follow.
Tenryuji (天龍寺, Tenryūji) is the most important temple in Kyoto's Arashiyama district. It was ranked first among the city's five great Zen temples, and is now registered as a world heritage site. Tenryuji is the head temple of its own school within the Rinzai Zen sect of Japanese Buddhism.
Tenryuji was built in 1339 by the ruling shogun Ashikaga Takauji. Takauji dedicated the temple to Emperor Go-Daigo, who had just passed away. The two important historical figures used to be allies until Takauji turned against the emperor in a struggle for supremacy over Japan. By building the temple, Takauji intended to appease the former emperor's spirits.
Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.
Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital's move to Kyoto in 794.
While the primary reason most foreign visitors come to Fushimi Inari Shrine is to explore the mountain trails, the shrine buildings themselves are also attractive. At the shrine's entrance stands the Romon Gate, which was donated in 1589 by the famous leader Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Behind stands the shrine's main hall (honden) where visitors should pay respect to the resident deity by making a small offering.
Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺, Ryōanji) is the site of Japan's most famous rock garden, which attracts hundreds of visitors every day. Originally an aristocrat's villa during the Heian Period, the site was converted into a Zen temple in 1450 and belongs to the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, whose head temple stands just a kilometer to the south.
As for the history of Ryoanji's famous rock garden, the facts are less certain. The garden's date of construction is unknown and there are a number of speculations regarding its designer. The garden consists of a rectangular plot of pebbles surrounded by low earthen walls, with 15 rocks laid out in small groups on patches of moss. An interesting feature of the garden's design is that from any vantage point at least one of the rocks is always hidden from the viewer.
The image of the temple richly adorned in gold leaf reflects beautifully in the water of Kyokochi, the mirror pond.
It is perhaps the most widely-recognized image of Kyoto. Seen reflected in the adjoining "mirror pond" with its small islands of rock and pine, Kinkaku-ji Temple, "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion," is a breathtaking must-see.
The building's first purpose was to serve the retiring Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1409) as a residence. The gold-leaf-adorned building was converted into a Zen temple shortly after his death. In an event that was later fictionalized by the renowned author Yukio Mishima, a 21-year-old monk burned Kinkakuji down in 1950. The temple was rebuilt in 1955 and continues to function as a storehouse of sacred relics.
The temple's garden is also a scenic delight and contains in its grounds a charming teahouse.
Kiyomizudera ("Pure Water Temple") is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. It was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, and derives its name from the fall's pure waters. The temple was originally associated with the Hosso sect, one of the oldest schools within Japanese Buddhism, but formed its own Kita Hosso sect in 1965. In 1994, the temple was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
Part of the fun of visiting Kiyomizudera is the approach to the temple along the steep and busy lanes of the atmospheric Higashiyama District. The many shops and restaurants in the area have been catering to tourists and pilgrims for centuries, and products on sale range from local specialties such as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets and pickles to the standard set of souvenirs.
The Higashiyama district together with Kiyomizudera, Yasaka Shrine and other temples in the area, have special evening illuminations during the annual Hanatoro event held in mid March. Kiyomizudera also has special illuminations during the autumn leaf season in the second half of November.